…..I’ll get to the end of that sentence in a minute (if you just can’t wait, scroll down to The Answer and give yourself a slap on the wrist). First I need to explain what I’m doing here.
I have been writing and illustrating a picture book for kids.
Writing and illustrating, that’s the fun part. Finding out what to do once you have written it, who to send it to, and how and why I should send it to them is the scary part.
I realized that I have a lot of learning to do. Navigating the jungles of the children’s book publishing world is no easy task, and there are so many people out there who are writing and illustrating books for children. How do I make my book truly worth reading? And how on earth do I get my book to be noticed? Where do I start???
So I did what I always do when I am overwhelmed – research, research, and research some more.I joined a couple of writers and illustrators groups online, and trawled the internet for information. And that is when I found him ……(tadaaa!)
Harold D. Underdown – the high-guru of children’s publishing, author of ‘The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Children’s Books’ and my own knight in shining armor (where publishing is concerned – note to my husband).
As writing practice, Harold suggests giving yourself a writing prompt and just seeing where it goes. The title of this post is one of the prompts suggested in his book.
I like it, because it answers a good question. Why do I love to write children’s books? Here is my unedited blurt out:
I love to write, I have been told that I’m good at writing. When I worked as a teacher, I was always the member of my team who would happily take on the academic writing tasks.
I also love to tell stories.
I think good teachers need to be good story tellers. To capture the imagination of a group of bored middle school students, I would often revert to storytelling, weaving a new context and meaning into activities.
As a mom, I particularly enjoy telling my kids stories. Whether they are fantasies made up at the dinner table, or recollections of my childhood told to illustrate a point, I make sure that I tell them in an interesting way to hold their attention.
Here is another thing. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE children’s books. Even when I visit the library on my own, I always visit the children’s section, looking for books that have magical stories and pictures. My daughter and I have our very own list of favorite children’s books that I may divulge in another post.
Finally, and I think very importantly. I can still think very much like a child.
For some reason, I have very intense memories of how I felt as a child from preschool through to middle school (not memories of events – but memories of how I felt and reacted to things), and often draw on these when with children. People have often commented on my strong rapport with children and young people. I genuinely love being around children, and am fascinated with how they think. That is why I enjoy writing books for them.
So there you have it, Mr Underdown. Now I’m off to read to my daughter.